Jason Isbell was a key member of Southern-rock group Drive-By Truckers. He then struck out on his own as a solo performer, and he’s been riding high on critical acclaim for last year’s solo album, “Southeastern,” which has been described as his “Blood on the Tracks” or “Tunnel of Love” in its searing intimacy and stripped-down intensity. The album garnered Isbell nominations for Best Song, Best Album, and Artist of the Year from the Americana Music. NPR rock critic Ken Tucker and American Songwriter magazine called it the best album of 2013. Local fans now have the opportunity to see him up close and personal when he performs at MASS MoCA in North Adams tonight at 8. Then tomorrow night at 8, composers/musicians Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow, who have been performing as the “noir-rock” duo Elysian Fields for nearly 20 years, bring their unique blend of jazz-inflected avant-roots music to MASS MoCA.
For an entirely different vibe, the eclectic, vibrant spirit of the streets of Rio will pervade Jacob’s Pillow this weekend when Companhia Urbana de Dança returns to the Ted Shawn Theatre in a program of contemporary hip-hop dance, including the thought-provoking, dramatic world premiere of “I. You. We... All black!” and the exuberant and lively “Na Pista.” The Jamal Jackson Dance Company will perform its work, "Bask in the Shade," in the tent at PS21 as part of the PS21 Chatham Dance Festival today and Saturday at 8 p.m. By combining traditional Malian dance with contemporary African technique, Jackson’s choreography illustrates the tug of war between traditional and modern values.
Jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, Jr. and one of his jazz royalty sons, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, along with their quartet, bring a program entitled “The Last Southern Gentlemen” to Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood on Sunday, at 8 p.m. performing standards and originals.
The second and final weekend of the Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its Silver Jubilee with an exploration of “Schubert and His World,” begins today, featuring several programs including “Beethoven’s Successor?” - an historic recreation of the sole public program that Schubert devoted entirely to his own music, with the Horszowski Trio’s account of his profound Piano Trio in E-flat as its centerpiece.
Nashville-based singer-songwriter Robert Ellis, a Texas native who counts Paul Simon and Randy Newman as creative influences alongside fellow Texans including Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle, brings his original batch of country-flavored pop-rock songs to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday at 8 p.m.
The Colony of Light -- a utopian collective of artists and filmmakers which first convened and collaborated at MoMA PS1 in NYC – has reunited for a week-long residency at Basilica Hudson this past week, where they will be collaborating on new work and will present two public programs of films, videos, and performances, tonight and tomorrow night.
Indie chamber-folk trio Dust Bowl Faeries will perform at Spotty Dog Books and Ale in Hudson on Sunday at 8 p.m. Indie-folk artist Marian McLaughlin, who was recently featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series, will also perform. I recently saw Dust Bowl Faeries for the first time, and in my review of their show I wrote, “it’s a singular experience that leaves you moved, bedazzled, and wonderful, in the literal sense – full of wonder, almost like a child, about just what it is you are seeing and hearing.”
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY WAMC’S COMMENTATORS ARE SOLELY THOSE OF THE AUTHORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF WAMC OR ITS MANAGEMENT.